California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers in California

May also be called: Cutting Torch Operators; Fabricators; Iron Cutters; Maintenance Welders; Metal Welders; Arc Cutters; Arc Welders; Combination Welders; Gas Welders; and Steel Welders.

Specialties within this occupation include: Underwater Welders.

What Would I Do?

Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers cut or join metal parts by applying intense heat to metal. Welding is one of the most dependable means of joining metal parts and is used in the building of bridges, buildings, ships, automobiles, pipelines, storage tanks, electronic equipment, and many more.

Welding is used by so many industries that the working conditions vary considerably from small, confined areas to high places outdoors. Physical activity depends on the type of job and may include lifting heavy objects and equipment, reaching, walking, climbing, stooping, kneeling, and crawling. The normal workweek for Welders is 40 hours.

Will This Job Fit Me?

This occupation will appeal to those who like practical, hands-on problems and solutions dealing with metals, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations are physically demanding requiring agility and a good sense of balance.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2016 for Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers in California is $39,493 annually, or $18.99 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$31,500$39,493$53,354
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefits usually include holidays, vacation, and sick leave. Many are also covered by health and life insurance and pension plans through either company or trade union agreements. Self-employed Welders are responsible for providing their own benefits.

What is the Job Outlook?

Manufacturing companies have reduced their need for low-skilled Welders by investing in automated welding techniques. However, demand for higher-skilled Welders will continue in construction, manufacturing, and utilities industries. Opportunities will be greatest for those who are certified or skilled in current welding processes and equipment.

How Do I Qualify?

Employers prefer to hire applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent. Completion of a formal apprenticeship, vocational, trade, private, or college program can increase the likelihood of entry into this occupation. Licensing is not required unless self-employed. Certification is only required if the welding job could prove dangerous should the weld fail. Voluntary certification demonstrates competence in the type of weld certification. Certification is offered by various trade associations.

Finding a Job

Welders find jobs through labor organizations or by directly contacting employers. Newspaper and Internet ads also provide helpful resources for local job openings. Trade associations may also provide job search assistance. Students can register with their school placement center for job leads and use other career services. Those seeking employment should be prepared to take on-the-spot written and welding performance tests. Other pre-employment screening requirements may include submission of union cards verifying journey-level status and proof of Welder certification. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).


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